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From the Bowery: WrestleMania XXIX

May 9, 2013 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
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From the Bowery: WrestleMania XXIX  

From the Bowery: WWE WrestleMania XXIX
-April 7, 2013
-MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Announce Team: Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL

-A very solemn and opening as it covers the damage caused to NY/NJ by Hurricane Sandy. It ends with hope as this country does what it always does: endure and triumphs in the face of adversity.

-Cole welcomes everyone to Mania as we get a few live shots of the crowd. The set looks incredible and easily one of the best they have ever done.

-Next the true Mania opening that hypes the show and Main Event matches.

The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show

-Seeing The Shield enter through the massive crowd is quite the visual. This marks first time since XXVII that the World Title Match didn’t open the show. This is a great choice for opener as lots of big names on the face side and hot new heel act making their Mania debut on the other side. Reigns starts with Sheamus and they waste no time laying heavy blows into each other. Sheamus reverses a whip but charges into a back elbow. He blocks a hiptoss and gets a one count off a clothesline. The tag is made to Orton and he stomps away. Reigns grunts a lot as he fires back with some right hands and makes the tag to Rollins. He gets caught coming in and eats a slingshot suplex. Nice! The tag is made back to Sheamus, but Rollins gains an advantage with a dropkick to the knee. The Shield triple team Sheamus in their corner before the tag is made to Ambrose. That draws a rather vocal pop from the crowd. They might as well jump on the bandwagon as dude is going to be huge one day. Sheamus doesn’t care about that now though as hits a powerslam for two. He looks to tag Orton, but Show tags himself in as he is tired of being frozen out of the match. He backs Ambrose into the corner and rips off the protective vest to lay in a big ass chop. That draws a chuckle from Orton and Sheamus on the apron. Ambrose isn’t right in the head so he taunts Show and then tries some chops of his own that fail. Show is rather pissed now and fires off some more chops to the chest. He squashes Ambrose in the corner, but a dropkick to the knee grounds the giant. The tag is made to Rollins and he comes off top with a knee to the face. He hits a few boots to the face, but Show kicks out rather easily. Reigns gets the tag and he has no problem overpowering Show. More quick tags from the Shield as Ambrose comes back minus the vest as Show is your giant in peril. The play games with the ref as any good heels should though that draws a positive response from parts of this crowd. Reigns comes back in to get him some and he grounds Show with a reverse chinlock. Show breaks with a belly to back suplex, but no tag to Orton as Rollins knocks him off the apron with a kick to the face. Effective! Show won’t be denied though as he gets to his corner and makes the tag to Sheamus. He mows down Rollins with a high knee, and then caves his chest in with the rope assisted forearms. A tag is made to Ambrose and he ends up getting the same fate as Rollins in a cute spot. Sheamus takes down Rollins with a rolling senton and then does the same to Ambrose on top of Rollins. The brawl heads to the floor and Rollins hits a suicide dive that nearly breaks his neck. Back inside the ring they prep Sheamus for the triple powerbomb, but Show breaks with a big ass spear. Sheamus crawls to the waiting Big Show, but Orton steals the tag and me thinks that may come back to bite him in the ass. Orton dominates the Shield and preps Ambrose for the RKO, but he catches Rollins leaping off the top rope with it instead. Awesome! As soon as he gets to his feet though, Reigns murders him with a spear and Ambrose gets the pin at 10:35. After the match Show is rightly pissed at Orton for being a glory hog so he knocks out both members of his team.

Winners: The Shield via Ambrose pin on Orton at 10:34
-Great choice for an opener with good booking and right team winning. The Shield got to show out in the Mania debut and in the end the fact they are a legit team with no ego gave them the win. ***

-Hype video for Rock vs. Cena. Great choice of song though it was used a few years back for the Orton/Cena feud building to their Iron Man Match. The idea of Cena losing to Rock causing the worst year of his life is a solid story, but then he shouldn’t have beaten Lesnar.

Mark Henry vs. Ryback

-You could argue that this match had best build of nearly any match on the card as they kept it basic. It doesn’t take long for the Goldberg chants to start, and that is loudest reaction we get from the crowd for the rest of the match. They immediately start trading punches and from the reaction the crowd is on the side of Henry. True enough the crowd pops when Henry knocks Ryback off his feet. He gets a one count off a running powerslam as the crowd chants “Sexual Chocolate.” Heh! The fight over a suplex attempt and Ryback ends up getting dropped on the top rope. Henry sends him to the floor as the ref starts his 10 count. He makes his way back into the ring and Henry goes to work on the small of the back. Things we going along ok, but Henry locks in a bearhug and the match takes a dive off a cliff. He sends Ryback over the top with a clothesline as this has been a squash at this point. Henry seemingly wants a count-out as he just stands and lets Ryback crawl back into the ring. Back to the bear hug as the crowd is growing restless with the lack of action. Henry breaks to deliver a slam, but goes right back to the hold. Story wise it makes sense as Henry is attacking an injured body part, but at same time it is killing the crowd. Ryback makes the comeback and hits the Meat Hook Clothesline. He gets Henry up for the Shell Shock in impressive fashion, but Henry grabs the top rope. That gives Henry a chance to shift his weight and crush Ryback as they fall forward to the mat. That is enough to get the pin at 8:02. After the match Henry scares off the medics and ends up eating a spinebuster. This time Ryback connects with Shell Shock to get his heat back I guess. Great show of power though and I guess a slight way to foreshadow the heel turn the following night.

Winner: Mark Henry via pin at 8:02
-This started out ok, but grew boring by the second. Henry deserved the win as he dominated the entire match from start to finish. He also won in a smart manner by using the ring to his advantage, so Ryback comes off as a sore loser. *

-WWE partners with The Special Olympics.

WWE Tag Titles: Team Hell No © vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (w/ AJ Lee)

-AJ looks fantastic and yes, I am one of those guys that think she can do no wrong. I will say she is much better in this heel role than she was as the plucky, face GM. This is the 3rd Mania for Daniel Bryan and for the first time he actually gets to show off what he can do. Great start as Ziggler kisses AJ to piss of Bryan and he eats a head kick for two in a nod to what happened the previous year with AJ/Bryan and Sheamus. I wouldn’t have faulted them for running that a second straight year, but would have felt bad for Bryan getting shafted out of a true match for a third straight year. Ziggler bails to the floor, but Bryan follows out with a dive. He fires Ziggler back into the ring and fires off multiple kicks as the crowd chants yes with each one. Dolph has had enough and dives to make the tag to Langston, who is making is Mania debut. Kane wants him some and he gets man handled as Langston delivers multiple back breakers. He delivers a running shoulder in the corner, but a second try catches a boot. Kane tries for the chokeslam, but Big E breaks the grip and delivers a clothesline. Dolph tags back in and hits a sweet looking dropkick. He makes the tag back to Big E, but Kane catches him with a DDT. He crawls to make the tag, but Ziggler kills the noise as he gets the tag from Langston. Ziggler gets mowed down by Kane and is able to kick out of a side suplex. The top rope clothesline misses and Ziggler hits the Rocker Dropper for two as Bryan makes the save. Off the top again and this time Kane catches Ziggler with a right hand. Big E makes the save, but gets tossed to the floor. Daniel comes off the apron with a running knee, and back in the ring Kane gets caught with the Zigzag for two. The crowd actually boos that. AJ distracts the ref, but Dolph misses a shot with the briefcase. Kane lands the chokeslam, and then makes the tag to Bryan. Big E gets knocked off the apron trying to make the save, and Bryan finishes Ziggler with the Flying head butt at 6:16.

Winners and Still WWE Tag Champions: Team Hell No via Bryan pin on Ziggler at 6:16
-Criminally short as the crowd was way into this one. Big E looked solid even if he didn’t get to do all that much. Take a few minutes away from the endless video packages and give it to this match and could have gotten a minor classic, but instead just a solid tag title match. **1/4

-Video package with Cena asking people to Donate to Make a Wish.

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho

-If you listen closely you can hear the start of what would become “Fandangoing,” though it would explode the following night with craziest crowd seen in years. Going into this one I was hoping we would get Jericho vs. Cesaro for the US Title, but he is in Vince’s doghouse while Fandango is the new pet project. Jericho is massively over with the crowd, because he is Chris F’N Jericho. He even gets the super firework entrance even though this true definition of a midcard match. Jericho’s father player hockey for the New York Islanders, and gives me a chance mention Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight (as I write this). With that said: Lets Go Pens! Anyway, Jericho starts out quick with some chops and Fandango bails to the floor. Fandango fights back, but nothing comes of it as he gets dropped with a front suplex onto the top rope. Fandango eats an early Code Breaker, but he flies out of the ring to keep the match going. Jericho follows him out with a crossbody off the top rope to the floor. Damn! They head back into the ring as the slaughter continues. Fandango gets tossed back to the floor, but lands a head kick as Jericho tries to hit the springboard dropkick to the apron. He doesn’t get too much offense though as Jericho quickly regroups and gets a two count off an enzuigiri. He heads up top and gets another two count off a cross body. The tide turns when Fandango sends Jericho shoulder first into the steel post. He heads up and connects with the top rope legdrop for two. He argues with the ref and Jericho gets a roll-up for two. Jericho turns a dropkick attempt into his own attempt at the Walls, but Fandango is able to escape. He catches Jericho with a clothesline and heads to the top once again. This time however, Jericho gets to his feet and shakes the ropes causing Fandango to fall to the mat. They battle on the top rope as Jericho tries a superplex, but a head butt kills that noise. The legdrop is missed this time, and Jericho hits the Lionsault, but bangs his knee. That comes back to haunt him as it gives away when he tries for the Walls and Fandango uses that to get a small package for the upset win at 9:11.

Winner: Fandango via pin at 9:11
-Fandango got limited offense, but showed enough for a solid debut. These two had decent chemistry and the ending with the injured knee was some solid story telling. **1/2

-Hype video for the Rock.

-P-Diddy performs a medley of his famous tracks. Better than the Kid Rock performance I sat through at WrestleMania XXV (which I didn’t hate). The crowd seemingly enjoyed it as well so I had no issue with this. Heel Cena circa 2003 would have been great in his interaction with Diddy though.

World Heavyweight Title: Alberto Del Rio © (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter)

-Swagger doesn’t even get to make an on camera entrance as he is already in the ring when we come back from the hype package. Poor guys didn’t even get the advantage of opening the show like past 2 World Title matches have done. It is to the point now that best place to be on the card is Main Event, Match with Taker (if not the Main Event) or Opening Match. Fast start as Swagger mugs Del Rio at the opening bell, but Alberto is more than prepared to handle the storm. They head to the floor in short order and once back inside Zeb distracts Del Rio to net Swagger the advantage. He works over the champ in the corner and gets a two count off a right hook. Del Rio fights back and gets a crucifix pin for two, but a boot to the head kills that comeback. The Swagger Bomb gets two and the crowd starts chanting for Ziggler. Ouch! Del Rio gets a clothesline and shows decent power with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. ADR gets in a shot on Zeb for good measure and then preps for the arm breaker, but Swagger counters to a suplex for two. He catches ADR with the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio kicks out and gets Swagger tied up in the corner. He connects with a Back Stabber as somewhere Carlito is angrily tweeting about others using steroids in a way that shows he is bitter or in a way to work the fans depending on who you ask. The crowd couldn’t care less as all they want is Ziggler. Just wait about 24 hours! They take turns going for their submission hold, and ends with ADR finally getting the cross arm breaker. Swagger counters to the Patriot Lock, but ADR gets to the bottom rope to break. He goes back to the hold even though ADR is in the ropes, but smart man as he has to the count of 5. He tries a suplex, but Del Rio flips out and delivers a kick to the back of the head. The running enzuigiri gets two as Zeb puts Swagger’s foot on the bottom rope. Zeb goes after Ricardo, but Del Rio saves. He goes after Zeb with a crutch (tough man), but now Swagger saves. He tosses Del Rio into the ringside barrier, and then fires him back inside the ring. Swagger follows and walks right into the cross arm breaker where he can’t escape and taps out at 10:28.

Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio via tap-out at 10:28
-Solid match, but you kind of expect more from a World Title Match at WrestleMania. The crowd really didn’t care and that is on the WWE for not giving them anything to care about in the build to this one. The ending coming out of nowhere kind of hurt things as well as they didn’t get a chance to build to anything. **1/4

-Another video package in regards to the US Military.

-Video Package for Punk/Taker as the true show is about to begin.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman)

-Living Colour plays CM Punk to the ring as he continues to get more and more of the star treatment at each passing Mania. Punk’s entrance alone is best thing about Mania to this point as he checks his imaginary watch and then Heyman’s. I laugh each time I see the two of them rock out to Living Colour while carrying around the urn as it so absurd, but at same time so damn funny. In the days leading up to this match Punk seemed to down play how good this would be as just kept saying he would do best that he could given spot he’s been given. That left many wondering just what kind of match we were getting as Taker hasn’t wrestled in over a year and with each year that passes that is another year older. The crowd is jacked for this one as this is biggest Mania match to date for Punk and quite possibly could end up being his biggest unless they finally give him the show closer spot. Taker one ups the entrance by walking through an army of Zombies reaching up to grab him. Just spectacular! One of the cool things is that unlike others Punk hasn’t shown fear and didn’t bail to the floor in fear when the lights went out. Instead he is sitting Indian style in the center of the ring waiting for Taker. That is bad ass right there! I would have pissed my pants if he had been checking his imaginary watch during Taker’s entrance as an inside joke for all of those who bitch about the length. This year though I believe Taker went under the betting line in that regard. Punk continues to goof around with the urn and Heyman nearly has heart failure when he tosses it to him. Punk slaps Taker in the face like Shawn did a few years earlier in a way to get inside his opponent’s head. He lands some heavy blows and Taker is rather pissed and tosses him in the corner for what is normally a beat down, but Punk escapes and delivers a second slap. Damn, Punk is going to die tonight! A big boot nearly knocks his head off, and Taker tosses him to the floor. Punk gets his ass kicked around the ring and flies over the security wall into the timekeeper’s cubical. Punk gets bounced off the Spanish announce table and then run back first into the steel post. Self note: never piss off Taker and insult memory of his fake father. The crowd starts a massive dueling chant as they finally have something to sink their teeth into. This looks like an utter squash as Taker hits the apron leg drop. Cole mentions that Taker and Heyman have a long history but won’t go into detail. I guess they don’t want to mention the abomination that was the Taker vs. Dudleyz concrete crypt match where Taker seemingly killed Paul Bearer. Taker goes for Old School, but Punk does what everyone else should have done for past 23 years: pull the tough bastard off the ropes. Now ever the evil douche bag, Punk goes Old School and delivers it to Taker with a shit eating grin on his face. Awesome! That gets a two count as Heyman makes my day by informing Punk he is only one second away. It is going to be a sad day when Heyman is no longer on a WWE screen. Taker pounds down Punk in the corner, but misses a boot in the corner. A baseball slide sends Taker to the floor and he follows off the top with a Macho Man double axe handle. Nice! He fires Taker back into the ring as even Lawler questions why he would do that if he is willing to take a count-out victory. Punk eats a few punches, but ducks another one and hits a swinging neck breaker two 2.5. Heyman makes sure to inform him that he is now just a half second away and building momentum. WrestleMania Momentum! Punk gets too cute and tries Old School again, but Taker crotches him on the top rope. A boot sends Punk to the floor as Heyman asks “what happened?” Heyman knows what is coming next as he jumps on the apron to stop the Flying Dead Man out of Control. Punk saves Heyman’s life with a springboard clothesline and then hits the Macho elbow for two. Punk calls for the GTS, but he fights off and delivers a chokeslam for two. At the time I seriously thought that was it as I still wasn’t sure if the WWE was going to let Punk hang toe to toe with Taker at Mania. They exchange blows in the center of the ring and Taker hits the running clothesline. Next comes Snake Eyes, but the big boot is countered by a heel kick from Punk for two. Sweet! The crowd starts another raucous dueling chant as Taker gets sent to the floor. Punk preps the Spanish announce table as things are about to get real in this one. Taker tries to end Punk’s life with a Last Ride through the table, but Punk escapes and hits the head kick. That leaves Taker out on the table and Punk decides he needs to do what he can to steal the show and hits the Macho elbow off the top to the table. Sadly for both men the table doesn’t break and Punk nearly destroys his right knee. Back inside the ring you can tell Punk isn’t in the nest shape as he uses the ropes to get back to his feet. Taker is able to beat the 10 count in a nice call back to Shawn begging for a count-out at WrestleMania XXV. The crowd lets them know that this is awesome and I tend to agree with them. Punk is flustered now and gets caught with Hell’s Gate, but he floats over while in the hold and gets a two count off a jack knife pin. Punk gets the Anaconda Vice as Heyman screams for his to tap. Instead Taker does the Zombie sit-up and we get a fantastic visual of Punk looking like he wants to piss his pants as Taker stares him down in the hold. JBL puts it best when he says “that’s not human.” True that! Punk escapes the choke slam, and hits the GTS, but Taker just bounces off the ropes and delivers a sick Tombstone, but now Punk is the one that kicks out two. Words can’t describe how awesome that sequence was. Both men are spent as they fight from their knees in the middle of the ring. At this point HHH had to be thinking to not again! Punk gets a kick, but Taker no sells and now Punk looks scared as the ref gets knocked down. Heyman distracts Taker again and Punk his the running knee in the corner. He is in prime position for the Last Ride though, but Heyman gives him the urn and he connects with Taker’s head. Punk crosses the arms and sticks out his tongue like Taker, but the Dead Man is out at two. The crowd is on the verge of heart failure now as they have forgotten all about the fact that Punk supposedly has no hope in hell of winning this thing. Punk continues to be a dick heel as he slashes the throat and goes for another GTS. Taker escapes that with some well placed elbows and he tries for the Tombstone, but Punk counters for another GTS attempt, but Taker counters that into the Tombstone and this time it hits to make Taker 21-0 at 22:07.

Winner: The Undertaker via pin at 22:07
-Match of the Year! I never thought I would see the day where CM Punk was booked as Taker’s equal on the biggest show of the year. Taker can come back once a year at Mania for as long as he wants as he has built up a lot of good will with these show stealing matches year after year. I can’t put it above the two Shawn matches as I was there for both of them and they will always be special to me, but I can’t say this match didn’t approach that standard. It was clearly better than HHH/Taker II and while didn’t have emotion and history of HHH/Taker III it was a better overall match. *****

-Another hype video for the Main Event that focuses on Cena this time.

No Holds Barred: Triple H’s Career on the Line: Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H (w/ Shawn Michaels)

-HHH gets his normal grand Mania entrance though the dry ice burns his midsection in what had to suck balls. Slugfest to start as you would expect and you can immediately tell the crowd hasn’t recovered from the show stealer in the previous match. Brock slips on the water from HHH’s entrance on the floor as they battle towards the announce tables. Brock gets in a boot and runs HHH back first into the apron. Brock grabs a chair, but gets clotheslined trying to meet HHH in the crowd. They had back into the ring and HHH hits a running high knee and as he tries to grab the chair, Heyman yanks it out of the ring. The silence from the crowd is kind of scary, but they wake up a bit as Lesnar starts suplexing HHH on the floor. He drops HHH face first on the American announce table and then slams him through the Spanish announce table. Punk off the top rope couldn’t put Taker through the table, but a simple slam from Lesnar takes care of it. Frankly, I am shocked the table didn’t collapse when Brock looked at it. It’s going to be a long night for HHH as Brock suplexes him onto what remains of the table. Back into the ring we go and HHH gets dominated in the corner, and then his brief comeback gets cut off rather easily. HHH tries to fight back against all odds, but this crowd couldn’t give two shits. Another suplex for another two count as Heyman says Lesnar could do this all night long. I think that’s what everyone is worried about Paul. All these suplexes is bringing back Steiner/HHH memories though Brock isn’t sucking wind and falling over after each throw. HHH finally gets a bit of offense, but Brock is having none of that as he sends the Game over the top and to the floor. The tide starts to turn as Lesnar ends up getting tossed into the timekeeper’s cubicle and HHH makes good use of a steel chair. Back into the ring and Lesnar gets a bridging belly to back suplex for two. Shawn gets a little too close and gets popped in the mouth for his trouble. Well, he shouldn’t have gotten on the apron. HHH tries the Pedigree, but Lesnar escapes and looks for the F5. Shawn tries to hit a Super Kick, but Brock catches the foot and plants Shawn with an F5. That leads to HHH getting a sloppy Pedigree for two. With his best move not working HHH turns to his trusty sledgehammer, but he walks into a F5 and that gets Brock a two count. Now Lesnar seems even more pissed as he swings away with a steel chair. He fires HHH into the ring steps on the floor and then casually uses them to blast HHH in the head. The crowd starts a weak one more time chant, but seems was just one guy in the front row chanting it. Sounded like a lot more considering how dead this crowd is. Both men and the rings end up back in the ring and HHH takes a shot to the shoulders. That gets several near falls as Brock is growing frustrated. Brock talks some trash and HHH slaps him in the face which is one the stupidest things he’s probably ever done. Lesnar goes for the kimura, but HHH breaks in the corner. Brock won’t be stopped though as he uses the top rope for leverage to try to get the hold. HHH breaks with a slam as I guess this is HHH’s attempt at doing MMA. Brock misses a charge in the corner and goes shoulder first in the post. HHH follows that with the masterful tactic of punching Brock in his balls. Now he targets the arm by wrapping it around the post and then beating on it with a chair. HHH gets his own version of the kimura as the crowd finally wakes at the idea of Lesnar tapping out. Heyman brings in a chair, but Shawn drills him with Sweet Chin Music to draw biggest pop of the match. Lesnar fights to his feet and drops HHH on the steps in a move that had to suck to take. HHH gets the kimura again and Brock uses the stairs to break again. For a third time HHH gets the kimura and this time he catches Brock with a DDT on the steps when he tries to break. HHH gets the hammer and blasts Brock in the head and then a pedigree on the stairs ends this war at 23:58.

Winner HHH via pin at 23:58
-As JBL said at this end “what a fight we just saw.” This was a rather brutal war, but the crowd just did not care. I won’t fault the work, but something just never really clicked between these two. ***

-Ad for Extreme Rules and then another one for Rock’s Pain and Gain.

-The Hall of Fame Class gets introduced to the live crowd and I can’t wait to see the entire ceremony as I hear that Foley and Booker knocked it out of the park. I also want to see crazy Bob Backlund get rushed off the stage.

-Video for WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans and hopefully I can get there for that one.

-Attendance announced at 80,676

WWE Title: The Rock © vs. John Cena

-A rather understated entrance for both The Rock and Cena considering what we got last year. Personally I had no problem with the WWE running this match a second year in a row due to the fact it made them so much money the previous year. The crowd is at least alive for this one in the early going as they have seemingly recharged after Taker/Punk. Cena lands the first blow of the match with a shoulder tackle and the crowd boos. Shocking! The Rock goes to a side headlock and then he is the one to land a shoulder tackle. A criss-cross sequence leads to a Rock hiptoss so Cena bails to the floor. That is kind of a heel move as I grasp at straws for a heel turn that is likely never coming. Back in the ring and Cena unloads with some right hands in the corner. The Rock charges out of the corner with a clothesline and starts throwing right hands of his own. Cena sets early on a backdrop and eats a boot. This one is starting to lose some steam and the crowd is starting to die on them. Now Cena goes to the headlock and they battle off that for a few minutes. The announcers go on a crazy diatribe about how a loss labels Cena as a guy who can’t win the big one. Are the serious? This is a man CM Punk rightly compared to the New York Yankees and now we are to buy the fact that another loss to the Rock makes him the Buffalo Bills. Just insane the logic they are using to make people see Cena in an underdog light. Back to the match as nothing of not has really happened except Rock sucking wind. A fisherman suplex nets a two count for Cena and then they kind of pause for a second as I assume Rock has been injured at this point. Things finally open up a bit as Cena runs through some of his offense, but gets caught with The Rock’s sloppy Sharpshooter. Cena counters rather easily and prepares for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. The Rock can see him and rolls out of the way. He preps for the Rock Bottom, but Cena counters to the STF. The Rock rolls over and gets a near fall causing Cena to break the hold. Cena hits a catapult into the corner and this time the Five Knuckle Shuffle connects. That leads to an AA attempt, but Rock is out and hits the spinebuster. That normally leads to the People’s Elbow, but Cena counters that to the STF. The Rock tries to roll through again, but this time Cena keeps his shoulders off the mat. The Rock then just goes about breaking the grip as the crowd finally starts to get back into this one. Rock powers out of the hold and hits a Rock Bottom for two. That leads to Cena hitting the AA and he only gets two off that. I guess that makes each guy even. Cena tries the top rope legdrop, but Rock moves and then hits another spinebuster. This time the People’s Elbow connects, but Cena is out at two and then rolls to the floor. The Rock gives chase and I am hoping they change things up with a brawl on the floor, but instead Cena just gets rolled back into the ring. The start exchanging blows in the middle of the ring as the crowd cheers and boos in response. A crossbody attempt is caught by Cena and he tries for the AA again, but Rock is out and hits a second Rock Bottom for two. Now the Rock seems perplexed as to what to do and as others have said he should have pulled out a Stunner just to wake up this crowd, or Cena do the same to piss the crowd off. The Rock decides to go for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and in a nod to last year, Cena is a step ahead and hits the AA, but unlike last year it only gets two. Cena is the first to his feet as they start trading blows once again. Cena gets a roll-up for two and then he delivers a Rock Bottom that finally gets a pop from the crowd. Cena tempts fate for a second year in a row as he tries the People’s Elbow, but this time he fakes out the Rock. He lets him know he can’t see him and tries for the AA, but Rock is having none of that and hits the Rock Bottom in one instance where crowd actually bought that the Rock might win this one. The fight over hitting their finishers again and it ends with the Rock sticking Cena with a DDT. The Rock tries one more time for the Rock Bottom, but Cena again counters to the AA and this time it is enough for the win and the WWE Title at 23:59. After the match the two men shake hands and the crowd shits all over it for good reason. Cena, ever the swell guy, leaves the Rock to the ring alone so he can receive an ovation from the crowd. I was okay with Cena winning, but this super best friends ending is what angered me. I didn’t need a heel turn, but at least let Rock leave the ring pissed or angry or something. I don’t need to see these two going out as friends and certainly don’t need to see them celebrating together at the top of the ramp to close the show. Cena saluting the Rock is one of the more nauseating things I have ever seen and even the crowd is rather unpleased with the love fest. I understand passing the torch and all, but this is overkill. I don’t even get the epic post Mania video high-light package.

Winner and New WWE Champion: John Cena via pin at 23:59
-This match kind of sucked balls to start and hit a nice groove at the end, but it never completely recovered. It was suitable enough to close out the show, but no way they were going to top what Punk/Taker did earlier and the ending sequence helped them get to Brock/HHH level. I know don’t want to ever see this match again unless one of them plays the heel role. ***

The 411: Nothing was down right terrible as it was even kind of amusing watching Henry dominate Ryback, but this needed another **** match to make it a truly great Mania. Instead we got Punk/Taker stealing the show in a Match of the Year contender and then a lot solid to good matches. The ending left me wanting to puke with the love fest, but overall the good definitely outweighed the bad.
Final Score:  6.8   [ Average ]  legend

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